Collecting While Stuck at Home | Design a New Collection3 min read

In this new, limited blog series, “20 Ways to Collect While Stuck at Home,” we offer ideas for enjoying your collection at times when a standard hobby experience is not possible. Illness, financial constraints, or any number of factors might temporarily keep collectors from participating as they normally would, but that does not mean that their hobby needs to be put on hold. 

Even the most ardent of collectors can admit to occasionally experiencing a hobby rut. Perhaps you are at a point where new acquisitions for your existing collections are rare. Maybe you’ve lost touch with why you collect. Or it could be that you simply want to try something new to inject a bit of spark in your hobby experience.

These are all very real situations that can dampen the collecting spirit. Fortunately there is a simple remedy: Design a new collection.

How Do You “Design” A Collection?michael jordan

This is an interesting question and the answer can be different based on what you want to collect. It is one thing if you are only interested in cards, but something quite different for those who also enjoy other forms of memorabilia. For the sake of this piece, let’s just concentrate on cards.

While standard sets can be considered the backbone of the trading card hobby, I also really enjoy what I call self-curated sets. These are theme-based sets, examples of which might be Super Bowl MVPs, MLB Rookies of the Year, NBA Slam Dunk Contest Winners or the Charizard Master Set. Any number of these sets can be found on the PSA Set Registry.

Award and Master sets are cool and represent interesting bits of history. But I would also challenge collectors to think outside of the box and design sets or collections all their own; something that has a very personal feel and requires a bit of thought and research in its creation.

A Sample Collection

One of the self-curated collections that I have played around with for years is something that I call “Important Figures and Moments.” It is an incredibly broad subject and one that could be slanted in any number of ways. There is no completion of this set in my mind, but rather it is a card collection that can grow as new knowledge is acquired and subjects reach my own arbitrary level of importance.

A partial list of subjects might include:

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  • Jackie Robinson
  • Michael Jordan
  • Superman
  • George Washington
  • Elvis Presley
  • Super Bowl I
  • Charles Lindbergh
  • Mark Twain
  • Davy Crockett
  • Louie Armstrong

One of the benefits of self-curated collections is that they can be adjusted to find any budget. Deep-pocketed collectors might limit themselves to career-contemporary issues or even rookie/first appearance cards. Hobbyists of more limited means can focus on more recent issues that feature the same subjects. Regardless of the era and value of the card, the collection still conveys the same message.

If the subject is too broad for your particular tastes, it could be limited to important people from a particular state, subject, sport or anything else. The key isn’t necessarily the importance of the cards themselves, but the meaning they hold for each individual collector.

Get Started

Honestly, I find as much enjoyment in the initial research as I do in the acquisition of cards, and I suspect others might feel similarly. Once you have decided the theme you would like to collect, simply start looking around for sets that could include representative cards. CardFacts and the PSA Set Registry are excellent places to begin your research.

You can also run eBay searches that will return a great deal of items (hyperlink out to example eBay search), cards and otherwise, related to your subjects. Check out online hobby forums where you can interact with collectors of various genres that could help guide your searches for particular cards.

There is really no wrong way to go. The key is that you are spreading your hobby wings, learning something new and sparking interest in cards that you might not previously had known even existed.


Posted by Todd Tobias

Todd Tobias is a longtime hobbyist and PSA staff member who is constantly on the hunt for vintage lacrosse issues and autographed cards for his American Football League (1960-1969) collection.

Johnny Robinson - Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019!!!

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